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N Korea agrees to restore hotline with South

Cross-border military hotline to restart from Friday as two Koreas move towards reopening of joint industrial zone.

Last Modified: 05 Sep 2013 22:59
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Two Koreas held their first meeting earlier this week aimed at reopening of Kaesong industrial zone [AFP]

North Korea has agreed to restore a cross-border military hotline with South Korea, in another sign of easing tensions between the rivals in recent weeks, the South Korean government has said.

On Thursday, the two Koreas agreed at a meeting in Kaesong to restart the hotline starting Friday, Seoul's Unification Ministry said.

North Korea in March shut down the telephone and fax lines used to coordinate cross-border travel to a joint industrial park in Kaesong that has since been shuttered.

Last month, the two Koreas agreed to work toward a reopening of the industrial complex, which had been the last symbol of reconciliation between the countries before North Korea suspended its operations in April.

Delegates from both the countries held their first meeting earlier this week aimed at reopening of the joint industrial zone.

Earlier this year, North Korea issued a series of threats including pledge to launch nuclear strikes on Seoul and Washington, after the UN slapped sanctions following nuclear tests.

However, it later scaled down its rhetoric and made conciliatory gestures.

In June, the two Koreas restored another communications channel at a border village.

But last week, North Korea withdrew its invitation to a US envoy to visit the country to discuss the release of a detained American, citing the alleged participation of US nuclear-capable bombers in annual military exercises between Washington and Seoul.

The Korean Peninsula remains officially at war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

About 28,000 US troops are deployed in South Korea in a legacy of the war.

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